Lakeview residents concerned over high, inconsistent water bills

Caresse Jackman talks about a public meeting between Lakeview residents and the Sewerage and Water Board about rising bills.

NEW ORLEANS – Residents of the Lakeview neighborhood has a meeting with top leaders from the Sewerage and Water Board Wednesday after complaints of high and inconsistent water bills.

Sewerage and Water Board’s Chief Financial Officer gave a presentation, letting neighbors know he's investigated the problems they're having and wants to reassure them there isn't a broad problem taking place with their water rates.

"It's three times my electricity bill. You know, it's crazy,” said Lakeview resident Julie Ghirst. She said for the past three months her water bill has tripled.

"It's started in May with just about a $20 increase” Ghirst explained. Then by June, it was a $50 increase. Then by July, it was, $200 increase."

Ghirst said the bill steadily rises, though she claims she’s using less water.

"My water usage has gone down tremendously in the last year,” she said. “So how can things triple, when my usage has gone down so much?"

A group of Lakeview residents met with S&WB officials to ask why their bills are so high.

"In December of 2012, the City Council adopted that new program of rate increases,” said Robert Miller, S&WB Deputy Director. “Starting January of 2013, through January of 2020 ratings increases of 10 percent across the board to all customers, every year."

Ghirst managed to talk with representatives one-on-one, and Miller believes her situation is an isolated incident, but wants people living here to know if they have an issue, S&WB will try their best to get things resolved quickly.

“This is the type of accountability that is reasonable and approachable for public officials like me to come out, show them the data, and answer their questions," said Miller.

Miller also said they plan on making huge changes to the way people can read their meters so they know right away how much they're using, along with updating billing system. 

(© 2016 WWL)


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